Back to School

New School Uniforms
Nick Showing Off His New Uniform and New Church Shoes

Going back to school myself this week and getting the neighborhood charges, Nick and Josh, ready to go back to school has occupied my life lately, along with the other usual peripheral civic/property related responsibilities. This new stuff on top of an unusual and insane attack of ants at home has made for a week of transitional wackiness. One of my readers has adopted the Causey kids along with me and another neighbor in the area and it’s really having a positive impact on all of us to have their support.

Miss M. bought Nick and Josh a bunch of school supplies including some really fancy Trapperkeepers binders which they were very excited to receive. She also offered financial assistance with school uniforms which has been rather challenging for their mother Betty, M. and I. Miss M. got the details about the requirement for uniforms for Wicker School which is pale yellow polos and black pants or long shorts . . below the knee. She also got them more t-shirts for layering, we are keeping in mind that it will get cold at some point.

Among the first batch attempt to meet their needs, Miss M. bought some pants for their older brother, Mike, who is 15 yrs old. Mike is a really attentive big brother who sustains a 3.8 grade point average at Craig High. He needed Grey Dickies and T’s. Miss M. got them for him but they were a little big and Miss Betty, their Mom, had to take them back to WalMart to get the right size. Having gone into WalMart and Academy myself, we learned that we should have started this back in June because it was a mad scene in all the stores this past week with everyone scampering for uniforms at the same time. Since I am not a parent, this was a lesson learned.

The search for yellow polos for the younger kids was a real challenge. After a trip to WalMart where they only had men’s polos, which I returned from Miss M’s initial venture, I found none in stock in their size, there weren’t even any at Academy Sports, not even in the girls section. Betty, being in the know, as their Mother, persisted, and found some at Soul Train Fashions in Gentilly, off the beaten track. Meanwhile Miss M. also persisted and found them at a great price online and found some for only $3.99 each!

The RSD is very strict and the kids have to wear black shoes too. Back in May, I had made a deal with Nick and Josh that if they passed the LEAP, I’d get them new shoes. Nick passed and we ventured over to the new Nike Store last weekend and found compliant shoes in his size which was really fortunate.

Josh’s score on the LEAP was marginal and he has a learning challenge, so he ended up not being held back but I have learned that they have a provisional grade for students like him and he has advanced to this 4.5 grade. Josh got an MP3 player which was left behind at my neighbor’s house, that was on his list of ‘immediate needs’ out of sheer coincidence and served as a prize for not completely failing. I know Josh has ADD issues and emotional issues, he occasionally turns into Franken-Josh . . .but, hey, don’t we all.

After working with them all summer, I see that most of their challenges in reading our summer reading centered around attention span issues. My friend in KC who has kids totally attributes this to video games and computers/mulit-media. After watching Josh spend countless hours on the computer without any trouble being focused completely on printing out coloring pages and playing Monopoly with Mike does struggle with focusing on his reading, so I have to agree with her that the multi-media proliferation is having an impact on learning at their age. It is best that Josh had some form of encouragement in getting the MP3 player yet is also retaking some subjects to be sure he knows them. It seems to be about balance.

Since I am going to law school, it is worth mentioning that some recent academic studies are revealing that having computers in the classroom is detrimental as a distractiion for adults as well. Some professors prohibit computer use in class because it causes students to adopt a transcription mode of operation rather than slowly pondering the cases discussed. Taking hand written notes suffices and I prefer it.

So the boys started back to school this week at Wicker and through the collective efforts of their Mom, Miss M. and MaPo, they are all set with uniforms and we all had a great first week.

I asked specifically about their getting out at 4:30pm, the new longer days adopted by the RSD this year. They are totally fine with the longer days because they were deadly bored and bickering by the end of summer vacation and their Mom often works later than that anyway.

I, too, am back in school beginning my life as a 1L in law school and we are all sharing a mutual enthusiasm, fueled by the support of those around us. Thanks to all who have lended help and encouragement! We are all off to a solid start. Thank god I do not have a dress code but I am sick of capri pants and look forward to wearing sweaters and jeans.

Also returning to school is my niece, Cassie who is med student at Tulane. Today, the boys helped me load all of Cassie’s dorm stuff from my place to the van this morning. We picked her up at the airport and we did the frenzied unload of her stuff together once at the dorm on campus while illegally parked. That whole situation is fucked up. There is no loading zone. You have to have unload in spitfire fashion because you WILL be blocking someone in. Having the boys there for extra help was great and more fun.

For their help I gave the boys $20 each and they have each recently been spending their money earned from odd jobs on pay-per time cell phones. Josh got one last week. They spent today’s earnings on more minutes and Nick got a phone too and is spending this rainy day learning to text message me! Woo hoo! It’s fun. My mom can’t even figure out how to adjust the volume on her ringer, so this is really satisfying. I also just set Nick up with his own Gmail account and he’s been able to send thank-you notes to Miss M. via email. By incorporating the technical with the traditional I am hoping he’ll be excited about working on his written communication skills if he can do it via computer and I am teaching him to use spellcheck too. Forward Motion!

1 Comment so far

  1. amymahlum on August 25th, 2008 @ 11:42 pm

    My daughter has Asperger Syndrome and I have found that combining the need to communicate with technology has been of great assistance to her. Her school started last week. She doesn’t have school until 4:30 at her charter, but I think they are looking at that for next year. It’s been a long road, but I think the schools are slowly getting there.

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